NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Matt McLaughlin Thinks Out Loud: Is It the Rider or His Horse?

In horse racing, they say it is the jockey that matters but even the best can’t win on a pack mule. As it becomes more and more likely that the Joe Gibbs Racing teams will switch to Toyota Camrys next year, you have to wonder just how many millions of dollars are being thrown around behind the scenes for Gibbs even to consider such a radical move. Gibbs latest acquisition, Kyle Busch, has complained out loud that he is unpopular with many fans because they aren’t giving him a fair break. (That’s a valid argument to a point, but in fact, it is Busch’s antics on and off the track that have caused many folks to write him off as a horse’s ass.) My guess is driving a Toyota isn’t going to endear him to even the most open minded fans. Of course, maybe Busch will be the first to win a race in a Camry and he’ll say afterwards, “These cars still suck”. I’d buy him a beer if he does.

Holding a Pretty Wheel: Breaking the Rules Just Ain’t What It Used To Be

Following an on-track incident at the Busch Series race in Montreal last week, NASCAR placed Robby Gordon on probation. In itself, the action was both warranted and consistent with past incidents. However, what followed was not. In their press release, NASCAR noted that should Gordon partake in any other rules infraction “that is deemed by NASCAR officials as detrimental to stock car racing or to NASCAR, or is disruptive to the orderly conduct of an event, he will be suspended indefinitely from NASCAR.” I mistakenly took that to mean that a driver in violation of a NASCAR-imposed probation would receive heavy punishment. Obviously, I was wrong.

Matt McLaughlin’s Driver Handicaps: 2007 Michigan Summer Race Edition

Jeff Gordon – Gordon has two wins at Michigan, with the most recent triumph coming in 2001. Overall, he has 20 top-10 finishes in 29 Cup starts in the Irish Hills, with an average finish of 10th… not too shabby.

Fanning the Flames: Who Wins in a Fight… Montoya or Harvick? The Blind Leading the Blind & More…

One of the most entertaining races of the season spurred some of the most thought-provoking inquiries I’ve received this year. Here’s to hoping Michigan provides us with the same on-track action and off-track queries from you fans at home. Without further ado, let’s delve right into the mailbag…

Mirror Driving: Juan Pablo Montoya the Bully, Bonus Points, Silly! & Why No One’s Watching TV

Kevin Harvick refused to back off comments about Juan Pablo Montoya’s aggressive driving after Sunday’s race, wreck… and fight. Is this the first of a long line of drivers we’ll see standing up to the Colombian, or was Harvick out of line for what he said? How long do you think we’ll see this rivalry linger?

Running Their Mouth: 2007 Centurion Boats at the Glen

Each week, we’ll go through all the media reports, interviews, PR, and all our own stuff to find the best quotes from the Nextel Cup race to capture the story of how the weekend unfolded. It’s the most original commentary you’ll ever find; the truth, coming straight out of the mouths of the drivers, crew members, and the car owners themselves. This week, here’s a sneak peek at what some select few were thinking after the Centurion Boats at the Glen at Watkins Glen International.

Bowles-Eye View: Montoya the Madman or Harvick the Hothead? Either Way, Just What NASCAR Needs

Truth be told, the last 20 laps of Nextel Cup’s annual visit to the Glen was filled with enough raw emotion to fill a two-hour Lifetime movie – a refreshing break from the wave of political correctness and sponsor soliloquies that have defined the sport over the past few years. But while Jeff Gordon’s fall from grace and Matt Kenseth’s comedic interlude with a crazed fan were some of the more notable experiences on the afternoon, nothing compared to the in-your-face screamfest turned shoving match in the center of turn 1. There, Kevin Harvick and Juan Pablo Montoya worked out some personal differences in the most public of settings, all while their cars leaked out fluids and the frustration of missed opportunity behind a wreck neither one appeared to be at fault for starting.

Thinkin’ Out Loud: 2007 Centurion Boats at the Glen

Jeff Gordon simply spun himself out heading into turn 1 with two laps to go, setting up a furious battle between Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards for the win. Overdriving his car, Edwards missed the corner and slipped into the sand trap in the second-to-last turn of the race, giving Stewart an uncontested run to the checkered flag.

Busch Series Breakdown: 2007 Zippo 200 at the Glen

Kevin Harvick won his fifth race of the season Sunday, continuing a streak of four wins in his last five Busch Series starts by crossing the line first at Watkins Glen. Harvick played an aggressive fuel strategy and was able to stretch his fuel mileage over the last 43 laps of the race, using caution flags to stretch his tank and outlast other competitors. Harvick briefly came under pressure late in the race from Kurt Busch, but Busch’s brakes faded over the last 10 laps and he wasn’t able to mount a late-race charge, making it smooth sailing for the driver of the No. 21 AutoZone Chevrolet.

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